MANILA – Contrary to claims of some quarters, Senator Ping Lacson said Monday that he sees no conflict of jurisdictions over Solicitor General Jose Calida’s filing of quo warranto case or petition for the Supreme Court to quash the legislative franchise of network giant ABS-CBN.
“It is a matter of different jurisdictions. The quo warranto petition is under the original jurisdiction of the Court. Approval or renewal of legislative franchise is the jurisdiction of both houses of Congress. As such, I see no conflict in jurisdictions,” Lacson said in a prepared statement.
“As in the case of former Chief Justice Sereno, under Art VIII, Sec 5, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction over a petition for quo warranto, among other petitions filed by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General” Lacson stressed.
“Hence, Solicitor General Jose Calida cannot be prevented from filing the petition in the case of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.”
Likewise, Congress is not prevented from exercising its powers under the same Constitution to act on the application for renewal or a new franchise which is now pending before the House of Representatives the former PNP chief said.
In filing the case, SG Calida explained that “we want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years.”
He also said that ABS-CBN has allegedly been hiding behind an “elaborately crafted corporate veil” because foreign investors take part in the ownership of the network which is in violation of the foreign interest restriction of mass media under the 1987 Constitution.
Calida cited Section 11, Article XVI of the Constitution which provides that: The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.
He further claimed that “ABS-CBN issued Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation to foreigners, in violation of the Constitution.”
“This simply means that mass media companies operating in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino owned because they play an integral role in a nation’s economic, political, and socio-cultural landscape,” Calida stressed. (IAMIGO/SPH.com)